Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Good and the Crazy

There is a bag on the kitchen counter containing a 12 inch pony tail that was cut off the other day. It will be sent away by post next week in support of the cancer society.

I'm happy with my short hair do and I am happy part of me can help out. (My stylist and I were aiming for 8 inches but neither of us had a tape measure so we cut off as much as we could to be safe and hoped for the best)

Didn't get to the sweater try on yesterday but D did his part and we now have a pile of pants and sweaters and shirts that he is giving away.

Over dinner last night, we were discussing "what we would do if we found ourselves in such a spot" with reference to a conversation D had with one of his colleagues.

A is a proud new dad and his wife B is just loving being a mother. Nothing wrong here but B has an addiction to shopping so their debt load (they have a mortgage, lines of credits owing and well as 2 fairly expensive car payments) is growing steadily each week -- to the point where A has asked her to stop buying.

B's response ranges from "I never wanted kids until we got married" to "you just bought yourself such and such...". B has no intentions of going back to work -- she doesn't love it and doesn't feel she needs to.

A is feeling the pressure as he is not only responsible for her students loans and because he has done it time and time again, will continue to be responsible for bailing out the maxed out credit cards each month.

As a woman, I am embarrassed.

B went to university, graduated with a profession and gave it a go for 2 years and never went back. Then it morphed into working overseas but came back with more debt. I believe that I've likely gone to school longer than B has ever worked in her life.

A works about 60 hrs a week. He has just completed a graduate business program as well. He has a spending problem and he feels that creates justification for B to spend too as they are married and everything is "equal".

Personally, I would not be able to stand by and see my spouse work like that and not be worried about health and well being. Nor would I make a decision of never working again, when there is so much debt. Buying expensive things you cannot afford frequently is masking underlying currents of discontent.

In my office, because most of us women are self employed, the ranges of maternity leave have been from 3 weeks (due to husband lay off) to 3 months. That's it. It isn't because those women hate being mothers or wasn't completely torn with having to leave their babies or that they are irresponsible.

There wasn't one of them who didn't cry the first week they were back. It was a matter of making the best decision for their family's current and long term security as well as protection of their respective practices that they spent years building.

Self employed mothers do not get maternity leave benefits. We have to save up on our own. So I am definitely biased when I see families that are not even close to "working together" to create a life where everyone benefits.

The women who weren't self employed mostly took the entire year off except for one who seriously didn't enjoy staying at home and opted to go back to work at 6 months.

The other issue I see is the need to spend and the feeling that one person's spending justifies the other to "match". That has turned into a contest where the stakes are getting higher and higher -- out of anger and spite and "not to be outdone" instead of realizing that by doing so, it chips away at their very foundation.

I think they need to speak to someone about their spiraling debt as well as someone else about their relationship dynamics. I am scared for them.


  1. I know too many couples who are in the same evil cycle (they have no idea that it's an issue at all). As a friend it's hard to watch them go this route but they will do what they want. One of them is a doctor who went straight to being a stay at home mom after graduation.

  2. Sadly, we know couples like this as well. There isn't much you can do. It's like watching a car accident. You know it's happening, but you can't stop it and you can't look away.

    Hopefully they get conscious before too much damage is done.

  3. Ugh, I know couples like this. Sadly these women help perpetuate certain stereotypes that the rest of us then have to fight. At my work the women always come back, we've worked too hard to get where we are. I have a friend very similar to the couple you describe. We met in college and even then she was never inclined to use her education or work, she just wanted to be a mom. Well she married a rather uneducated man who actually got a great job and made good money, for awhile. He was laid off last year and hasn't found anything, they are deeply in debt and she is bitter about going back to work to keep their heads above water. I fear divorce is the next stop.

  4. People change..Life is always changing..Nothing stays the same, etc. Marriage, gotta love it!

  5. Hi Res!

    I have a buddy who worked really hard to get into dental school. When he got there, he found out that half the women in his class were there to meet their future spouses with no intentions of working.

    Apparently they were very forthright about it and didn't see anything wrong with taking a spot from someone else who does want to practice!

    They felt that they earned their spot and have families who can pay for it so who cares if they don't practice...

    (I still shake my head at that one)

    Hi Money Minder!

    You are bang on. I don't want to look but I can't help it.

    Hopefully they will not need to hit bottom to change.

    Hi Miss M!

    Oh no! I feel sorry for their kids.

    Hi Blase!

    I would like to think that we have some control over some things. Leaving everything up in the air would be too scary!